After winning four games last week by playing near perfect fundamental baseball allowing a total of four runs, St. Charles East showed Monday it can also win games without its pitching and defense bringing their 'A' games.
The Saints committed three errors, walked five batters and allowed four unearned runs -- yet needed just five innings for a 15-5 victory over Glenbrook North in their first game of the Lawler Summer Classic at Benedictine University.
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St. Charles East (20-12) will play Libertyville at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Central College. A victory in that game -- which is a rematch of the Wildcats' win in the Class 4A state semifinals last month in Joliet -- will send the Saints to the summer state semifinals Wednesday at Benedictine.
With almost an all-new lineup from that spring state team, the summer Saints now know they can win by shutting down their opponents like last week, or slugging 14 hits like Monday.
"They got some good pitches to hit and they looked pretty good at the plate," said coach Len Asquini, who led the Saints to the 2001 summer state tournament title. "Unfortunately I wish we would have done a better job defensively and a little bit on the hill. Maybe we got the jitters out of them, we got away with it this game. We'll have to be a lot cleaner tomorrow in order to beat that Libertyville team."
Glenbrook North (16-17) took a quick 1-0 lead against Saints starter Adam Eck in the first when the Saints couldn't glove a ball that landed between their left fielder, third baseman and shortstop.
St. Charles East answered with two runs in the first and led the rest of the way, breaking the game open with five runs in the second and then putting up more crooked numbers with three in the fourth and five in the fifth.
"I think we came out a little tight but once we got seven runs on the board we really opened up and played looser and kept adding on," Saints first baseman Ben Smith said. "We're a new team. We lost a lot of seniors but the kids have stepped up. We're going to be able to continue (our success). It's good to continue the success and continue that to next year."
Smith was one of several hitting stars going 2-for-4 with 4 RBI. Leadoff hitter Austin Reglebrugge got on base all four at-bats, doubling in the first inning and then walking three times.
Jake Clodi (2-for-3, 3 RBI), Jake Milosch (3-for-3, 3 RBI) and Jake Rykoskey (2-for-4, 2 RBI) all had multiple hits. Rykoskey ended the game with two outs in the fifth with a line RBI single to the gap in left-center.
"They swung the bats extremely well," Glenbrook North coach Dominic Savino said. "You give credit where credit is due. They hit better than we pitched today and that's the bottom line. That's a good baseball team and they were better than we were today."
Saints catcher Adam Rojas ended Glenbrook North's first inning by picking a runner off first base, then nearly picked a runner off third base in the fifth.
After Eck struggled with his control in the first, he threw a 1-2-3 second with two strikeouts. He got into trouble in the third with three straight walks to start the inning, and Kyle Cook relieved him in the fourth and pitched the final two innings.
Clodi delivered a 2-run double in the Saints' 5-run second. In the fourth, Smith, Milosch and Rykoskey ripped RBI singles to right, center and left as the Saints blasted one hard-hit ball after another all over the outfield.
St. Charles East will try to keep the hot bats going Tuesday against Libertyville who defeated Huntley 3-1 on Monday. The Saints won't see star catcher Evan Skoug, the TCU-bound senior-to-be whose tape-measure shot grand slam was the key blow in the teams' state matchup. Skoug is in South Dakota this week on a mission trip with his church.
"It's interesting both teams after getting down there in the spring are back down there in the summer," Asquini said. "Shows good signs for both programs and where they are headed. It will be a great challenge for us."